In a move touted as a win for conservatives and gun rights, Judge Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in as the 102nd Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
After a slim 50-48 confirmation vote by the U.S. Senate on Saturday, the most narrow approval since the chamber stopped using voice votes in the 1960s, the long-time appeals court judge was sworn in to replace retired Justice Anthony Kennedy.
Chief Justice John Roberts administered the Constitutional Oath to Kavanaugh at the Supreme Court Building followed by Kennedy who administered the Judicial Oath, an act that was repeated publicly in a ceremony featuring President Trump at the White House on Monday.
The President addressed the contentious nomination process that was marred by allegations of sexual assault by the judge while in high school.
“On behalf of our nation, I want to apologize to Brett and the entire Kavanaugh family for the terrible pain and suffering you have been forced to endure,” Trump said, going on to note that the jurist “under historic scrutiny” was proven innocent of the allegations against him.
The National Rifle Association, who chipped in over $1 million in ad buys to support Kavanaugh’s nomination and mobilized their base in what was characterized as a move to ensure the court swayed to the right on gun issues, applauded the Senate action on Saturday. “Kavanaugh is an eminently qualified jurist who will interpret the Constitution as the framers intended,” said Chris Cox, head of the NRA’s lobbying arm. “He respects our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms for self-defense.”
National gun control groups, to include the Brady Campaign, Everytown, Giffords and the Newtown Action Alliance, slammed the confirmation, while issuing urgent pleas for fundraisers citing the second Trump-era appointment to the nine-judge high court.
“He is a Second Amendment extremist who rationalized his belief during the confirmation process that assault weapon bans are unconstitutional by claiming that assault weapons are ‘common’ because ‘millions and millions’ of them are owned in the United States,” said Brady Campaign co-President Kris Brown about Kavanaugh. “And when a survivor of gun violence stands before the Court, as is sure to happen, will he or she get a fair hearing from a man who ranted and raved about political enemies in front of the Senate, while the NRA spent over a million dollars to support him?”
Meanwhile, prominent Democrats, notably New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo — headed to the polls against a Republican in a re-election bid next month — vowed more gun control and resistance in the wake of Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
“We will not wait for our rights to be taken away,” said Cuomo. “Here in New York, I vow to codify Roe v. Wade within the first 30 days of my next administration, strengthen our common-sense gun safety laws and continue our progress expanding access to quality affordable health care.”
We will not wait for our rights to be taken away. Here in New York, I vow to codify Roe v. Wade within the first 30 days of my next administration, strengthen our common-sense gun safety laws and continue our progress expanding access to quality affordable health care.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) October 6, 2018